Ode to chaotic Hanoi

As cheesy as it sounds, I left a little piece of my heart in Hanoi. It was an unlikely romance – through the stressful chaos in the streets and the fact that we were stuck there for a few days with not much to do due to my sudden but very real lack of a passport, I expected to run from Hanoi screaming and never look back. But, now that we’ve left it, I so desperately long to return.

I can’t really describe what about this city charmed me so – maybe it’s the fact that it’s a restless, constant moving organism with so many different stories moving through it. Or maybe it’s the easygoing attitude of the locals. Chances are, it’s the countless hole-in-the-wall restaurants that never fail to amaze. Or, maybe even the incredible Vietnamese coffee we had on all too many occasions.

Most likely it’s a little bit of all these things mashed together – regardless, Hanoi stole my heart like no other city has so far.

Here are my top tips for a few lovely days in this charming, crazy city.

24 Hours in Chiang Dao

Less often trekked by tourists than its close-by cities Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Chiang Dao is a small town in the very north of Thailand. In it you’ll find local restaurants and shops, but, also, beautiful views, hikes, and temples.

If you have a couple of days to spare, Chiang Dao is a gorgeous, rural retreat when you get tired of exploring the bustling cities Thailand has  to offer.

Guide to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the third largest city in Thailand, and a lovely representation of the northern Thai culture. Chiang Mai was one of my very favourite parts of the country; it has the fun of a big city, without the intimidating air that Bangkok has. We stayed in the Old Quarter, and didn’t really venture out of it, with no regrets. Here’s a breakdown of what your stay in Chiang Mai may cost you, provided you are budget travelling:

The Vibe

Accommodation: Hostels here range anywhere from 5-20$ for something reasonable (or maybe with lizards in your vents – but they’re harmless). Ian and I are able to share private rooms since the cost for each of us comes out to about the same as if we each payed for a hostel bed. We stayed at  Tommy Huts, which cost 13$ per night, or 6.50$ each. This got us a private hut with air conditioning, at Thai style bathroom with shower, and a bed. Pretty good deal!

What to do in Bangkok

Did you know Bangkok is the most visited city in the world? Bangkok is a bustling city that can seem too intimidating to navigate and explore at first; it’s made up of several regions, all with their own individualities. However, with a little research and knowledge of the city, it’s a charming place with many local amenities. Here were my favourite things to do in Bangkok.

Southeast Asia Packing List

Hey everyone! If you’re reading this when it’s first publicized, you’re seeing it while Ian and I are on our flight to Bangkok – woohoo!

We decided to go with backpacks instead of checked luggage this time, after AirCanada lost our luggage on our last trip to Portugal. However, seeing as we’ll be away for over a month this time around, packing everything I needed into a 40L travel bag was quite a challenge. Let me tell you what I brought, to ease your time should it come around.

Southeast Asia – One Month Packing List

Clothing

1for1 Pizza

Hey guys! I’m here today to talk to you about some of my favourite Ottawa comfort food.

One of the biggest hurdles to transitioning to a vegan diet is the shift in the kinds of dishes you can eat – sometimes, some of your favourite comfort foods disappear from most menus. Chicken fingers? Nope. Soup? Usually not. Pizza? Definitely not – well, most of the time, unless you want to eat it without cheese. But who does, really?

Portugal – the guide to Lisbon & Cascais

Welcome to the very last Portugal post! It’s been very fun and I’m sad that it’s ending, but I’m glad that the complete guide for our trip is now up!

So for our last few days in Portugal, we flew back to Lisbon and spent three nights there. Once we landed, we took the metro to our AirBNB, and let me just say, Lisbon’s public transport system is wonderful! I’ll be talking about it more later.

Portugal – The guide to Madeira!

Our second to last stay in Portugal was on the beautiful island of Madeira. Madeira is off the southern coast of Portugal, so you have to fly there. For that reason, we almost didn’t go – but Ian did some research and thought it looked amazing, so we did. And I’m sooo glad we did; Madeira was definitely my favourite part of the trip. Honestly, it’s a fairy tale tropical island. We stayed there for four days, but I wish we could have stayed a lot longer.